Citizen Review Committee
July 15, 2008
Approved August 19, 2008
Meeting Location: Lovejoy Room, Portland City Hall
CRC Members Present: Michael Bigham, Josephine Cooper, Loren Eriksson, JoAnn Jackson, Mark Johnson, Robert Milesnick, Sherrelle Owens, Lewellyn Robison
CRC Member Absent: Hank Miggins
City Staff Present: Gary Blackmer (City Auditor), Mary-Beth Baptista (IPR Director), Michael Hess (IPR); Maria Rubio (Mayor's Office)
Police Bureau Members Present: Captain John Tellis (IAD)
Chair Bigham called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m.
I. Introductions and welcome
II. Guest Speakers: Joanne Fuller, Director of the Multnomah County Department of Human Services for Multnomah County and David Hidalgo, Manager of the Multnomah County Verity Mental Health Organization. The speakers discussed the Mayor's Mental Health/Public Safety Initiative Action Plan and answered questions from CRC and community members about mental health services in Multnomah County.
III. Director's Report (Director Baptista)
The IPR work plan includes the following: manage the caseload; publish 2007 Annual Report and second Quarterly Report; develop an outreach strategy; hire an outreach coordinator; support CRC workgroups; report back to City Council.
The recruitment announcement for the full-time assistant director/investigator position had been posted. The closing date for applications is 7/28/08.
IPR investigators have taken the initiative to develop training sessions to enhance their investigative skills.
No appeal requests have been filed so far this year. No appeals are pending.
IPR received 21% fewer citizen-initiated complaints through the first half of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.
IPR Monthly Director's Reports are now being posted on the IPR website. CRC members are asked to provide the IPR Director with feedback on this report.
IV. Approval of the Minutes of the 6/17/08 CRC Meeting: Mr. Eriksson moved to approve the minutes as written. Ms. Owens seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
[Mr. Milesnick left the meeting at this point.]
V. Workgroup Updates
Bias Based Policing Workgroup (Chair: Sherrelle Owens). The file review is completed. The next step is to work on the data collection and the interim report. The next meeting has not yet been determined. Ms. Baptista said that Derek Reinke will be briefing her on some of the things he is working on to support the workgroups, and she offered to step in for Derek while he is on paternity leave to keep things going with the workgroup. Ms. Owens responded that the workgroup is ready for a respite after all the work they have done.
PARC Report Review Workgroup (Chair: Michael Bigham). The workgroup continues to gather information. The workgroup has gotten through the numbered recommendations, and now they will see if there is anything else that needs to be looked at in the unnumbered recommendations. The workgroup plans to provide Merrick Bobb of PARC with their preliminary data to review. The next meeting of the workgroup will be on July 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Ms. Baptista will follow up on when PARC's next visit to Portland will take place.
Service Complaint Workgroup (Chair: Mr. Johnson). The workgroup has primarily been focused on formation issues, discussing the kinds of things the group would like to look at as well as the kinds of things that have been looked at in the past. The view of the scope of the workgroup is that it goes beyond service complaints and includes all summary dispositions more broadly. This includes cases that are dismissed by IPR, cases that are routed into the service complaint process, and cases that are declined by IAD. The two specific things the workgroup is looking at about these three areas are complainant satisfaction with the process and whether there is a practical way for complainants to have some sort of post-complaint review of that disposition of their complaints. There was a workgroup in 2004 that already did this process of reviewing cases with these types of dispositions. The agenda for the next meeting will be to come up with a proposed charge and a proposed name change for the workgroup and to begin discussion of the data collection process. The next meeting will be on Thursday, July 24, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
VI. Tracking List Update: (Ms. Owens) Mike Hess has offered to go back through the minutes from January 2007 through June 2008 to reconstruct the tracking list. Ms. Owens asked the CRC members to email her with questions that they would like her to pose to Bill Toomey, of the Multnomah County Mental Health Division, who will be on the agenda for the September CRC meeting.
VII. Outreach to Mayor and Commissioners: Mr. Miggins (Outreach Workgroup) submitted a draft letter to the mayor and commissioners proposing that CRC members be assigned as liaisons to each commissioner. Ms. Cooper provided an alternate version of the letter.
Mr. Johnson made a motion that Chair Bigham be authorized to send whatever letter he thinks is most appropriate. Ms. Robison seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously. Chair Bigham said he will get the letter out sometime before next week.
VIII. Old Business
Chair Bigham said that Mr. Miggins, Mr. Eriksson, and he went before the City Council to discuss the Transit Division's Intergovernmental Agreements, which are scheduled for a vote to be renewed. They expressed their concerns about the lack of accountability for jurisdictions outside of the City of Portland. The Council was very receptive to their concerns. The Council agreed to establish a committee to address this problem. Chair Bigham and Director Baptista have agreed to serve on this committee.
Mr. Eriksson said that the Police Bureau has followed through with the request to send an anonymous survey to all citizen and peer members of the Use of Force/Performance Review Board. Assistant Chief Martinek has given permission to the PARC workgroup to include a copy of the survey in their report.
Chair Bigham opened a discussion regarding the incorporation of IPR/CRC proposed changes in response to the Luna-Firebaugh report into work plans of existing workgroups. This is reflected in the expanded scope of the Service Complaint Workgroup. Mr. Johnson pointed out that CRC has not yet approved the proposed changes. He suggested that at a future meeting CRC should formulate a list of recommendations that CRC is interested in seeing happen, and these items can then be farmed out to the workgroups. Chair Bigham asked the CRC members to email him with their ideas on this and he will place this on next month's agenda. Chair Bigham suggested that the CRC members also take another look at the report of the League of Women Voters for other possible recommendations. Ms. Rubio offered to provide CRC with the results of City Council hearings on the Luna-Firebaugh report.
Chair Bigham and Mr. Eriksson said that the Police Bureau is making several changes in their tow policy as a result of the recommendations of the CRC Tow Policy Workgroup.
IX. New Business
Chair Bigham said that he has suggested to Director Baptista that she ask the Auditor if funds could be made available to send some CRC members to the NACOLE Conference in Cincinnati in October. Ms. Baptista said that she would talk to Diane Betcher and the Mayor's Office about that. Ms. Owens suggested that it might be possible to obtain videotaped versions of conference sessions for CRC members to view.
Ms. Owens suggested that there be a "Kudos Board" to highlight accomplishments of the CRC. Ms. Baptista said she would support having a visual display. She also encouraged CRC to come up with a way to keep more formal track of their accomplishments so that they can be included in the quarterly reports. Ms. Owens asked CRC members to email her with prior accomplishments of CRC so that she can begin documenting these things. Mike Hess offered to look for examples of past CRC accomplishments when he is putting together the tracking list.
Chair Bigham brought up the possibility of having another retreat.
X. Public Comments
Dan Handelman (Portland Copwatch) said that he was concerned that the presentations are sometimes not relevant to police matters. He was also concerned from what was said at tonight's presentation that police officers would be responsible for making medical decisions about where to take mentally ill persons when the police are called for help. He also suggested that the CRC case review workgroup should determine the reason for the increase in IPR dismissals compared to IAD declinations. He encouraged CRC members to review the Portland Copwatch response to the Luna-Firebaugh report as well as the comments of the City Auditor, the former IPR Director, and the Mayor in addition to reviewing the League of Women Voters report. Mr. Handelman concluded with a statement that CRC should do something about CRC members who are absent for a significant number of meetings.
XI. Wrap-up Comments by CRC Members:
Mr. Johnson stated that Mr. Handelman's concern about police officers being asked to decide where to take mentally ill persons was a fair criticism of the current system in contrast to the previous system involving the Crisis Triage Center. He also clarified that in his previous comments he had not intended to make a conclusion about the decline of IAD declinations and the increase in IPR dismissals. He said that it is not his perception that the total number of declinations has changed so much as that the dismissals are happening sooner in the process. He suggested that it might be a good thing for the case review workgroup to look at whether the nature of the cases that are being dismissed has changed.
Ms. Cooper said that it is her understanding that the Crisis Triage Center was a pilot program that might have lost its funding simply because it was due to expire and not necessarily because of errors it made in specific cases that were avoidable mistakes. She said that it is important to remember that although the Crisis Triage Center was convenient, it was not a perfect place to take people to.
Mr. Eriksson reminded CRC members that they need to let someone know if they are not going to attend a meeting. Ms. Owens encouraged the Chair to continue the practice of identifying whether absences are excused or not.
Chair Bigham stated for the record that no one was excused from tonight's meeting.
Chair Bigham adjourned the meeting at 7:58 p.m.